Sad to say goodbye

Nick purchased the house in November, 2007. It had most of its original features still intact which ticked all the boxes.

Here are some images of the house that Nick took when he was waiting to hear if his offer had been accepted. The previous owner had lived there for most of her life, the house having been last modernised sometime in the 1950’s, most evident in the pastel pink and blue kitchen and bathroom.

You can see from the images it needed a lot of work including new mains sewerage, treatment for rising damp and woodworm infestation. The top floor of the house had no electricity. The workshop in the back garden was original to the house but had large holes in the roof.

The carpets were ripped up to reveal wide, almost untouched 6″ floorboards, the original doors and cupboards were hidden under layers of plywood. Beneath the accumulation of wallpaper and thick varnish was the original match boarding in the dining room.

No photographs were taken of the sitting room, once the room had been skimmed and decorated which looked like this…

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Then this…

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The fire surround propped up was an ebay find (we buy A LOT from ebay), we bought this and another one from a similar property in Sevenoaks for £20 and a smaller one f0r 99p.

At this point we had no car so we carried them on the train and then walked up from High Brooms station with them on our backs, it was a bit like being in stocks, I am sure we looked quite odd!

This was the sitting room in its final state.

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The dining room went from having 1950’s patterned carpet, boarded over doors and cupboards and layers of yellowed white gloss paint…

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The view from the dining room and kitchen started to change as new fencing and garden was added and the brick shed transformed into a studio space. The outside courtyard had  concrete paths which we replaced with gravel and eventually painted the new fence a dark drainpipe grey.

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The render outside of the kitchen was blown, so it was chipped off and re-rendered.

The shed originally had one door on the side, but we added two wooden casement windows to let in more light, a Velux in the ceiling and then opened it up at the front with some glazed pitch pine hospital doors salvaged from a hospital in Yorkshire, (eBay again).

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At the end of the garden you can see the other fire place surround we bought that I mentioned earlier. Later we planted more climbers to the side fence and a Boston Ivy to disguise the huge wall that was built after the original brick wall was demolished to build a row of terraces on Castle Street.

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View from the end of the garden towards the house.

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The original kitchen and bathroom were removed and the dropped ceiling removed to reveal two more ceilings underneath. After these were taken down it exposed a higher ceiling which made our kitchen seem more spacious.

Here is how the kitchen looked post renovation…unfortunately there are no images of it as a work in progress. Two new wooden casements were installed and new floor boards to match the rest of the house, and completely re-plastered and probably one of the smallest Plain English kitchens ever made! The worktops are iroko and cupboards were painted in Farrow and Ball ‘Blue Gray’. 

The kitchen was the one thing we splashed out on, knowing it would be where we spent most of our time.

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The main bedroom looked out towards Pennington Park and was again stripped back completely before decorating. In both second floor bedrooms the fireplaces had lost their mantle and were boarded up, so we uncovered them and made mantles for both. The fireplaces had lovely patterned detailed around the edges. So from this…

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To this…

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The bed is French, turn of the century, chest of drawers from a local charity shop and green resin lamp from Marianna Kennedy. After a few different colours we settled on walls  in ‘French Gray’.

The bedroom opposite became the bathroom. The centrepiece being the roll top bath framed by the sash window. The bath was luxury! I am definitely missing it now, you could really sink in to it and on any moonlit evenings or when it was snowing I loved having the window open and being in a hot bath. From this…

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To this…

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The tiny front garden was planted out with ferns, gillenia, epimediums, geraniums, woodland sedges and astrantias. Climbing up the house was Mme. Alfred Carriere and white wisteria. Later we added to the planting some ‘Annabelle’ hydrangeas, their huge pom-pom flower heads got quite a few comments from passersby.

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The house was finally finished and then we decided to move. A house nearby with a bigger garden came up and two weeks later our terrace house had sold and we were moving…

Arundel

Nick and I had originally been slightly over ambitious planning to visit Petworth House with a quick detour through Arundel on the way. A very slow moving tractor on the journey meant that Petworth House had to be jettisoned and we spent the afternoon in Arundel instead.

We really knew little about Arundel prior to our visit except that poem by Philip Larkin and its reputation for inspirational (if not affordable) antique shops. And a rather grand castle.

How lovely is Arundel? A real working high street, lined with bunting and full of independent traders, a riverside arts festival and good food. Kim’s Bookshop is particularly worthy of a visit. With stacks of mid-century titles heavy on illustration and graphic design and, to my personal delight, a wide range of cookery and photography books. We grabbed some lunch at Pallant of Arundel and devoured it sitting on a park bench in front of the castle gate. Then set about searching for treasure.

Which is how we spent most of the day, with our last visit being to the magnificent Spencer Swaffer Antiques. If you had the money you could spend a small fortune in this shop – I never knew how badly I wanted a collection of French enamel jugs, 19th century carpet bowls and a marble glazed ceramic canister!

The space is rather disorientating with objects, furniture, artwork and mirrors adorning every square inch of each room, stairwell and landing. At the rear of the shop is a walled garden that was bathed in sunshine. You step out into a sunken courtyard with plants of towering height Phormium, Miscanthus, Euportorium and Rudbeckia and then a series of smaller former spaces with box hedging, rose adorned arches and legions of dark stemmed dahlias.

Plenty of ideas to take back to our embryonic garden (albeit on a more modest scale)…

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Rye in the sunshine…

Rye is one of my favourite places to visit on a day trip. Originally an important Cinque Port but left marooned on the Marsh when the sea suddenly disappeared sometime in the 13th century, never to return again. It’s picture postcard perfect; beloved of a BBC filming crew, winding cobbled streets, a good mix of Georgian, Victorian and Medieval architecture and panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.

We went for a final catch up with my in-laws before I fly out to Australia on Sunday. I was keen to soak up the Englishness and get some gifts for my family.

There are a few shops I like to frequent – it’s always good for kitchenalia and cookery ephemera. The vintage and antique shops are well curated with a good understanding of what’s currently in demand – but priced accordingly for the tourists who flock down to Rye on the E F Benson trail. No bargains today!

Here are some pictures from the day.

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Admiring the flash of India Yellow in their sitting room.

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I have got my eye on this house!

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This is where I like to get my stationary from.

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Inside Rye Pottery studio.

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This shop has a bit of a A.G. Hendy’s Homestore in Hastings feel about it. It had a huge selection of antique french confit pots. Van Gogh painted his sunflowers in these pots.

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Sunflowers, 1888, National Gallery

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These are the two we took away.

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A detail of the Italian stationary we bought.

The next post will be from Perth, Western Australia. Nick is staying at home and getting on with the renovation so I will be excited to see what will have changed. He has been told go easy on the Netflix.

 

A short history lesson…

Before writing about the renovation of 18 Pennington Road, Southborough, it only seems right to share what we subsequently discovered about the history of the property first.

Pennington Road owes its name to a Dr Robert Rainey Pennington (b. 1766 d.1849) a surgeon practicing in London who had acquired land in the area.

The terrace was built somewhere between 1820 to 1830. Although the original title deeds were lost somewhere along the way, we have collected a number of documents and photographs which fill in some of the history of the house and the road.

These are some albumen prints of Pennington Road and nearby London Road from about that time. Most of the terrace was shops and small businesses – indeed I have been told that it looked much like this up to the 1970’s.

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Our house is the second last house on the terrace towards St Thomas’ Church

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The end of Pennington Road where it meets London Road. The Imperial Public House is not much changed. The lake has since disappeared along with the Wesleyan Church that was built in 1871.

In the 1881 census, Philadelphia Hubbard and her spinster daughter, Mary lived at the property, which at that time was actually number 9 Pennington Road. Mary Hubbard was a dressmaker which explains the hundreds of pins we found underneath the floorboards in what later became our bathroom on the first floor.

We know a man named Richard William Dance, a retired harness maker and sadler lived at our property from the 1870’s; he died in 1918, followed by his wife, Jane, in 1925. The property was then bequeathed to their daughter, Mrs Florence Jane Ravilious.

This would explain the brick built outbuilding at the rear of the property, probably used as his workshop; it is the only house in the terrace with an outbuilding that was built at the same time as the house.

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A conveyance document dated 31st March, 1930, tells us Mrs Florence Jane Ravilious was married to Thomas William Ravilious, a coach builder of ‘Fairlight’, Portman Park, Tonbridge. It was Mrs Ravilious who then sold the property on to Mr William Edward Sheepwash, a ‘motor-car proprietor’ of number 14 Pennington Road.

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Sheepwash’s offices were nearby at number 14 Pennington Road and his carriages and stables were directly behind Pennington Road in what was Castle Street Mews. The carriage works later became a car mechanic’s workshop which were then demolished in 2011 to make way for four terrace houses.

The wall of the old carriage works and stables was our back wall in the garden and despite our objections to the planning authority, it too was demolished. Part of the original wall can be seen still behind the house on the corner of Pennington and Castle Street.

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An Edwardian postcard of Pennington Road which would have been taken at the same time Sheepwash was resident on the terrace. Our house is next to ‘Martin’s Bootmakers’. 

After doing some digging around I found a few interesting cuttings about Mr Sheepwash including a wedding mishap and a thwarted burglary. I can’t believe anyone would be cheeky enough to not only set alight his barn, break in to his house, steal money, but also take buns and cakes too. They were naughty boys.

Unfortunate Sequel to a Wedding: Maidstone Journal and Kentish Advertiser, 5th December, 1901. 

Tonbridge – Naughty Boys: The Courier, 9th of January, 1913.

Sheepwash was also the President of the R.A.O.B. in Southborough. The what? you say. The Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes, a fraternal charitable organisation that was founded in 1822. Their meetings were held at the Imperial Hotel. Here is another cutting from the Kent and Sussex Courier dated 27th February, 1925.

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William Edward Sheepwash died in 1945 and the house was bequeathed to his widow Hetty Madge Sheepwash (who later re-married and became Hetty Madge Barnes). It was sold to Charles Frederick Alexander in 1966.

And it was Charles wife, Ivy, who was the last resident before Nick bought the house in 2007.

This is what the house looked like when it was purchased.

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That is Nick’s Dad holding his torch, looking up at the roof. Little did he know just how much work he and Nick would be doing over the next year(s)…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Southborough boot fair treasures

We don’t often get to our local boot fair at Mabledon, actually, we have only been once before. Last time, there was a chap selling new old stock Bakelite switches and doorknobs. This would be ideal for us now as we have recently moved in to a 1930’s house with all the original Bakelite door handles and locks and it would be nice to have matching light switches. No such luck.

We admired the houses on the way…

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For the most part people were selling old clothes and toys but we did find a few interesting pieces for a bargain price.

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The above left was the postcard collection which we bought from. I got some old postcards of Southborough high street from each end and we bought a whole album each that had some great images inside.

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Below are some images of our finds taken in our 2nd bedroom on the mantle of the thirties fireplace. Nick has scraped back the paint to reveal greens and pale pinks and the distressed look is providing some interesting texture to photograph with, I will be sad to see it go. Although he is creating many other areas of the house with that look at the moment.

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1930’s collectible cigarette silks.

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Always fond of a kitsch postcard.

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I love these postcards printed in Berlin with this quite harsh coloured tint.

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Aside from the graphic design, I like the sentiment as my family and friends are in Australia.

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People used to pin prick the windows to make the light shine through them.

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Novelty pop out postcard of Wales. Why don’t these still exist?

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1840’s blue and white platter with pretty crazing.

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Ceramic jug made in England, bargain price of 50p. Would look pretty with cut flowers from the garden.

This has got to be the best way to shop! Out in the sunshine buying antiques for less than what it would cost you new (and it would never be as nice).

 

All text and photographs are copyright by Castles on the Ground, 2016